Matthew 26:20-30 (Part 3) – Breads, All Kinds of Bread, Too Many Breads: But Only One That Really Matters

Posted: April 2, 2016 in Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 26:20-30 (Part 3)

Jesus and the Disciples Share the Last Supper

Bread is everywhere. It is common to every society on the planet. It ties us to the history of man as well. For every society that has existed on the planet has had created and depended on some form of bread or bread-like substances since man began organizing himself into socieities. The importance of bread in the formation of early human societies cannot be overstated. From the western half of Asia, where wheat was domesticated, cultivation spread north and west, to Europe and North Africa, and enabled humans to become farmers rather than hunters and foragers. This in turn led to the formation of towns, as opposed to the nomadic lifestyle, and gave rise to more and more sophisticated forms of societal organization. Similar developments occurred in eastern Asia, centered on rice, and in the Americas with maize. Bread is one of the basics of organized society. It a basic of life. But what we see now in the United States is an explosion of bread. I guess when a society becomes so sophisticated and has so much abundance and becomes spoiled as we are, one of the basics of life can become a dizzying array of choices.

 

Today, when order a meal in a restaurant nowadays, you not only have to tell the waitress what kind of salad you want, what kind of salad dressing you want, what kind of drink you want, one of those rapid fire repartes between you and the waitress now includes what KIND of bread you want. It can be a bagel, a baguette, banana bread, beer bread, biscuit, borlengo, breadsticks, brioche, ciabatta, flatbread, focaccia, pita, pumpernickel, rye, sourdough, and zwieback just to name a few of the more popular ones. Our country has gone mad over bread. Man, just say a decade ago, bread was bread. It was white bread and that was it. Now, even Wendy’s puts their burgers on brioche buns. What’s up with that? Now, we have all these crazy different kinds of coffee and ways to serve it but did we have to do it to bread? Can’t there be one simple thing left in life! End rant. Leave it to man to overcomplicate a good thing. Just give me some a straight up cup of joe and some white bread! LOL! OK. I am really ending the rant this time.

 

But as you can see bread, even when we have gussied it up, is an important part of life. It is necessary part of life in every society. And would you not know, that ubiquity of bread throughout history and throughout every society made its way into the Lord’s Supper. It is a central part of the Lord’s Supper. Let’s re-read the text one more time:

 

20 When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. 21 And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”

 

22 They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?”

 

23 Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

 

25 Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?”

 

Jesus answered, “You have said so.”

 

26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

 

27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the[a] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

 

30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

 

 

Bread symbolizes life. It is the nourishment that sustains life. In the wilderness, God provided a daily, saving provision of manna, or “bread from heaven,” for the children of Israel. And Jesus said in John 6:35, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry.” NIV) Bread also represents the physical body of Christ.

 

In his article, “Christ: The Bread of Life” at www.rhema.org, Ken W. Hagin says,

 

“The bread represents our Lord. He walked this earth in a physical body. In that body, He taught along the seashore. He sailed the Sea of Galilee. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil (Acts 10:38). And that body was broken for me and you. That body was beaten with thirty-nine stripes—by whose stripes we were healed (1 Peter 2:24)! That body was hung on the cross, buried in a grave, and raised again! That body is the Living Bread! Our Lord is the Bread of Life!

 

How do we partake of the Living Bread? We do it by faith. When we partake of the Communion wafer (a natural bread), we eat it and acknowledge by faith that we are partaking of spiritual bread, the Bread of Life. The natural bread is a representation of the spiritual bread. Partaking of the bread is a natural act with spiritual meaning and significance. By faith, we remember what Jesus did for us. By faith, we partake of Christ’s broken body and shed blood. By faith, we celebrate the healing and salvation Christ has provided.

 

Bread is an important part of the biblical record. The manna from heaven sustained the Israelites as they made there way through the Sinai wilderness and it was enough to sustain them for a day. Jesus fed large crowds with bread and no one went away hungry. In the Lord’s Prayer, we ask for our daily bread. We ask God to meet our needs for the day, of which bread is a symbol of his sustaining us each day. And even in the flight out of Egypt, bread was to play a pivotal role. The Israelites were not to put yeast in their bread the night before they left that they were instructed by God to make as part of the original Passover meal. The bread was to be unleavened so that they would not have to wait for it to rise the next day when they left en masse from Israel when God demonstrated to the Pharaoh who was the real boss. Now, Jesus continues the significance of bread in the biblical record when he says that the bread is His body in the Lord’s Supper.

 

When we accept Christ as our Savior, He is our sustenance. He is our sustainer. When we accept Christ as our Savior, we take on His covering of our imperfection. When God looks at a saved one, He sees that person as covered by Jesus. The bread of the Lord’s Supper is representative and symbolic of the fact that through allowing Jesus into our life when we make the decision to accept Him as our Savior and Lord, we take on His qualities before God. The bread does not give those qualities but is symbolic of it. The bread does not impart a little bit of salvation as some suggest but it is simply symbolic of what has already happened for the saved soul.

It is also a somber remembrance of what Christ did on that fateful Friday almost 2,000 years ago. Dennis Lawrence in his sermon at www.sermoncentral.com, says, “Christians are to perpetuate what Jesus began in this final evening meal before his sacrificial offering. Christians are to follow the practice of taking bread, thanking God for it, breaking it, and, through this, remembering Jesus. Christians are to remember what he did and are to remember that this represents his body.” A body that was beaten, tortured, bruised, punctured to the point that He was hardly recognizable. He did that. He endured that for you and for me. No wonder we should come to the Lord’s Table with a deep sense of awe and respect. So not only is it symbolic of Christ entering our lives and being our sustainer, but it is honoring the pain and suffering, the real physical pain and suffering, that Jesus went through for us.

 

So, next time you have a dizzying array of breads to choose from and it feels you with angst and fear. Remember that there is one bread that is eternal and that is our best choice ever. The Bread of Life. Jesus Christ. He is our sustainer. He is our covering. He is our bread that gives us new life when we are hungry and destined to die that way. He is our bread. Amen and Amen.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s